U.S. will not abandon Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi affair

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held a policy briefing at the State Department, during which he announced a series of newly imposed sanctions against Iran, saying “The United States today sanctioned an international network that the Iranian regime and Russia are using to provide millions of barrels of oil to the Assad regime (in Syria). This is in exchange for the movement of hundreds of millions of dollars to the IRGC Quds Force. That money is then passed on to terrorist organizations like Hizballah and Hamas. The United States in its continued efforts will not allow these dirty dealings to flourish. Iran will not be allowed to exploit the international financial system, to hide revenue streams it uses to fund terrorist activity, support sectarian militias, abusing civilian populations, or to destabilize the region.” With regard to growing demands by journalists, as well as countries and actors that have been vehemently opposed to the Trump Administration’s policies, to end American relations with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia over its involvement in the Khashoggi affair; Secretary Pompeo underscored that the United States was obligated to adopt policies that furthered U.S. national security interests. In his words, “It’s a mean, nasty world out there, the Middle East in particular. There are important American interests, to keep the American people safe, to protect Americans – not only Americans who are here, but Americans who are traveling and working, doing business in the Middle East. It is the President’s obligation – indeed, the State Department’s duty as well – to ensure that we adopt policies that further America’s national security. So as the President said today, the United States will continue to have a relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They are an important partner of ours. We will do that with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, its people. That is the commitment that the President made today.”

The American top diplomat, who spoke following a meeting with Turkey’s foreign minister in Washington, underscored that there has been an enormous effort with respect to fact-finding pertaining to the death of Jamal Khashoggi, including a series of sanctions imposed against 17 individuals. That said, the Trump Administration’s will continue to act to preserve America’s national security and economic interests, the importance of which supersede the wishes of “some people.”

“There has been an enormous effort with respect to fact-finding pertaining to the death, the murder, of Jamal Khashoggi. A lot of U.S. resources have been devoted to determining the facts to the best of our ability to determine precisely what happened there. The United States took a very strong response. We have sanctioned 17 individuals in connection with that investigation. We are at the same time committed to making sure that we place America’s national security interests and all the actions that take place in the context of doing the right thing to make sure that America continues to thrive and grow. And when we do that, the world is better off for it too, and the Middle East is better off as well,” said Pompeo.  The comments by Secretary Pompeo came following a field interview with president Donald Trump, during which he reiterated his policy that “America comes first.” President Donald Trump stated “We’re not going to give up hundreds of billions of dollars in (MILITARY) orders and let Russia China and everybody else have them. It’s all about for me, very simple, it’s America First.” / They’re buying hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of things from this country. If I say we don’t want to take your business, if I say we’re going to cut it off, they will get the equipment, military equipment and other things, from Russia and China. / I’m not going to destroy the world economy and I’m not going to destroy the economy for our country by being foolish with Saudi Arabia.” With regard to the involvement of the Saudi Crown Prince in the Khashoggi murder – President Trump emphasized that the CIA’s findings were inconclusive. Furthermore, Trump underscored that Saudi Arabia was a vital actor in confronting the Islamic Republic of Iran, as well as in the perseveration of the oil prices from threatening the global economy. According to the U.S. President, “They (CIA) didn’t make a determination. And it’s just like I said, I think it was — Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t. They did not make that assessment. The CIA has looked at it, they’ve studied it a lot, they have nothing definitive. And the fact is, maybe he did, maybe he didn’t. If you look at Iran what they’ve done, they’ve been a bad actor. You look at what’s happening in Syria with Assad, with hundreds of thousands of people killed. We are with Saudi Arabia. We’re staying with Saudi Arabia.”